Homekill regulations in New Zealand

I’ve had a few people searching for ‘homekill services’ and arriving at Meateaters.co.nz. As someone interested in sourcing cheap but great quality meat directly from the source (e.g a farmer) I figured it would be sensible to see what regulations governed this activity. (Picture from Flickr)

According to the New Zealand Food Safety Authority you can homekill an animal if:

  • you are an animal owner who is actively engaged in the day-to-day maintenance of the animal, or animals of the same kind, for a period of at least 28 days
  • Such owners may kill and process the animal themselves on their own property (includes property leased, or where there is other legal right to occupy or use the property), or they may have the animal killed or processed by a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider on the service provider’s premises or place or the animal owner’s own property.
  • Homekill product is for the use or consumption of the animal owner including his or her family or household and must not be traded (although interestingly ‘family’ is not intended to include extended family living elsewhere)

So this means that I can’t ring up my farming friend Steve in Waipukurau, and buy a cattle beast off him then arrange to have it homekilled on his property because I wasn’t directly involved in the rearing, care and maintenance of the animal, nor am I an employee of or related to Steve. If I enter into an arrangement to do this then both myself and the farmer could each be liable for a $75,000 fine. That’s a very high price per kg!

The only way around this I guess is to buy a lamb and put it in your backyard for 28 days. But you’d need to check the city bylaws to see if this was a permitted activity. Wellington bylaws appear to allow animals in your back yard as long as you can provide adequate food and shelter and the animal does not constitute a nuisance to your neighbours.

You can read the 2004 Animal Products Act here.


  1. Pingback: The Kindest Cut of Meat on TV One

  2. frees

    Real Cost of Home Grown Beef for Small Block Owners

    Has anyone done the sums and worked out the true cost of home grown beef, killed & processed by a local homekill butcher, including all costs from buying the calf, rearing, killing, processing, freezing and running the freezer until all the beef is eaten?

    How does it compare with buying the same cuts and quantity (whole animal) from a supermarket?

    1. Astro

      Re: Real cost of Home Grown Beef….

      Hi frees,

      Try not to think of the real cost as dollars and cents. The REAL cost is a safer healthier product, presuming you raise an organic animal(Certified organic meat is very expensive in any case, so the cash savings would be immediate here).

      The real costs are a healthy happy animal slaughtered humanely, pure organic meat, and reduced health concerns for you down the line due to consuming a more natural product.

      I would rather eat that meat than meat from an animal under great stress at the time of slaughter (son worked in a works, trust me the animals know exactly what is happening to their mates and they suffer immense emotional trauma at the time of their slaughter. Very bad for the meat). Also supermarket bought meat is raised on chemically fertilised pastures and pumped with too many drugs, and may not even be New Zealand sourced product.

      If you are able to produce home grown, consider yourself fortunate.

    2. There is no doubt that it’s cheaper to have an animal slaughtered on the farm and then processed directly by a butcher. The TVNZ Sunday programme confirmed that with perhaps 50% savings.

      Now that we know it’s legal to buy an animal off a farmer and have it legally slaughtered in an abattoir we could ALL save that money.

      Astro is correct in saying that the taste benefits of an ethically grown organic animal far outweighs the taste experience of supermarket meat. But, currently we can’t legally have an animal slaughtered on the farm (by a home-kill service) unless you own the farm, or the animal, or both.

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